IF IT BUGS YOU, CALL US NOW: (973)697-7979

Ticks, Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Tick sucking on skin

There are several methods of disease transmission that folks should know about. Direct contact transmission involves touching an infected individual whereas indirect contact involves touching door knobs, telephones, and other inanimate objects where the bacteria or virus may be residing while waiting for a suitable host. There is droplet contact as when someone sneezes, airborne transmission from pathogens that may survive a long time in the air, water borne transmission from a contaminated water source and fecal-oral transmission from improper hygiene. Perhaps the most insidious type is vector-borne transmission. Vectors are animals such as flies, ticks, mites, and fleas. Vectors are mobile so they can spread the disease across a large range. For example, deer ticks may reside on deer which can travel for miles on a daily basis.

To understand more about the danger of tick bites, a look at their lifecycle can help. Typically there are four life stages for a tick: eggs, larva with six legs, nymph with eight legs, and adults. Except for the eggs, ticks require blood at all stages for survival. If the tick feeds on an infected host, it may transmit the pathogen to subsequent hosts. After emerging from the egg, the larva finds its first host which is usually a lizard or small mammal. After feeding it drops to the ground to digest it meal and molt into a nymph. The nymph needs another blood meal which it usually gets from a bird, lizard, or small mammal. Soon it drops to the ground to molt into an adult. Adults feed again before mating so that the female can lay between 2,000 and 18,000 eggs! When they lay this many eggs it is no wonder that a tick infestation may occur!

Ticks can lay their eggs anywhere from outdoor leaf litter to your home. Eggs have been found in tiny cracks, inside furniture, and under carpeting. The cable channel Animal Planet has a hit show named Infested. One episode showcased a family with a house that had ticks coming out of the woodwork. They called a professional entomologist to help with the problem. One professional treatment was enough to kill many ticks in the house, but many still remained alive and well. Experts in tick control should be called if you believe you have a tick problem in the home. A licensed Pest Control Applicator can kill ticks outside in the yard using granules and liquid perimeter sprays. These treatments are eco-friendly, because many of today’s chemicals are less toxic and used in low concentrations. At least two applications seem to work the best. An application in the middle of May and another in the middle of June work well, but you may need a fall application after adult ticks emerge in October.  Another tick reduction program called Tick Box Technology is also available and can be used in conjunction with spraying or as a stand alone treatment.

There are a number of different tick borne diseases in the United States as well as several different species of tick that may carry the pathogens. The blacklegged tick is known for transmitting lyme disease which is the most common tick disease in the Northern Hemisphere. Without antibiotic treatment, the heart, joints, and central nervous system are affected which may lead to serious disabilities lasting for years. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or RMSF is typically transmitted by dog ticks and wood ticks. These are good reasons to use a professional to reduce the number of ticks in and around your home.